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Re: [groff] mdoc equivalent for man's .TQ?

From: Guillem Jover
Subject: Re: [groff] mdoc equivalent for man's .TQ?
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:14:37 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)


On Sat, 2019-07-13 at 23:46:23 +0200, Ingo Schwarze wrote:
> Guillem Jover wrote on Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 08:15:18PM +0200:
> > I've got some man pages using the man package, which I've been
> > converting to mdoc.
> I'm curious, which ones?

The man pages for the Debian GNU inetutils package, as upstream only
provides texinfo documents, and even switched from the original BSD man
pages (from where the code originated) to stub and unhelpful man pages
generated from --help output, a change which I reverted.

The conversion for the last remaining ones is here:


I've considered switching others where I'm upstream, such as dpkg,
although I've found annoyances like this (or dates not being settable
in ISO 8601 format, or po4a giving translators too much confusing
markup), that have put me off. (My current thinking has been to switch
from man to perl POD for those, and even though POD is less semantically
rich than mdoc, it does not have the above mentioned problems, and
seems like an incremental "improvement" from man markup.)

> > But I've been struggling to find an equivalent for the .TQ macro
> > in mdoc, in the docs (groff and BSDs), and via search engines.
> > 
> > Is there anything at all within mdoc which I'm missing? How do BSDs
> > handle things like:
> > 
> >   ,---
> >   .TP
> >   .BR \-o ", " \-\-option
> >   .TQ
> >   .BR \-a ", " \-\-alias
> >   Do whatever.
> \&... this is the end of the preceding text.
> .Pp
> .Bl -tag -width Ds -compact
> .It Fl o , -option
> .It Fl a , -alias
> Do whatever.
> .Pp
> .It Fl n , -next
> Next list entry.
> .El
> .Pp
> And here the running text continues ...
>   # end of the second paragraph

Thanks, although I don't think this is entirely equivalent. :) The nice
thing about .TQ is that it gives you compact for the continued entries,
but not for the rest, so it's visually clear which ones go together.

Just listing them w/o -commpat (which is what I went with for now) seems
ugly/confusing to me, as it's not clear at first sight that these are
related, and using -compact for the whole list is not visually appealing
for this specific case (I've used -compact in other cases where it
looked appropriate, such as

> Btw., note that .Bl -compact is portable, whereas .TQ is a GNU
> extension: the -compact flag has been around since the early 1990ies,
> whereas groff only supports .TQ since 2007.

Right, although I'm not too fused about these (it being a GNU
extension, and it's age) for the cases where I use .TQ.

So, I take there's no direct equivalent then? :) I guess I could file
a request somewhere, but I'm assuming something like this would need
to be coordinated among the various implementations?


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